Orson Welles' Othello With BD Premiere in France
After a short run in theaters, the French label Carlotta Films will release Orson Welles' Othello (1952) with a 2k master on Blu-ray in November 2014. But it's all more complicated in the end.
When taking a closer look at the matter, we see that there are two official versions by Orson Welles. First, we have the old European version that had its premiere at the Cannes festival with a runtime of 92 minutes. And then there's also an alternate US version with 93 minutes. The EU version was released on VHS, but never on DVD while the US version got a Criterion Laserdisc release in 1994 but was taken back after legal issues involving Orson Welles' daughter Beatrice. That US version included several recuts, audio differences and some alterations that were forced upon Welles by United Artists.
The only official version out there at the moment is a restored version that was ordered by Beatrice in 1992. It differs from both earlier versions in several instances, which caused heated discussions among film buffs. This restored version is mainly based on the US version by Welles.
According to a recent interview with Beatrice Welles, the upcoming Blu-ray will contain this restored version that will probably also come out in the US at some point. Since there are differences between the first restored version from 1992 and the one that ended up on the DVD (scenes were re-included, for example), the wording "new restoration" could fit very well, especially since the Blu-ray has a runtime of 93 minutes and is thus longer than the old restoration. The main differences affect the soundtrack and synchronisation anyway. Beatrice Welles also prevents the release of the EU version and many experts see the reason for that in the fact that she can only earn royalties with the restored version and not with the original one of her father.
The French Blu-ray will be released on November 5th, 2014.